YIKES! Three months since my last post?! I've had so many projects in the works and apparently not enough time to blog about them!
I've been busy keeping the shop stocked these last few months. I'm trying to get a little ahead of the game and stock up on some back to school items so that I'm not scrambling around in August! Since my reusable snack and sandwich bags are always a hit, I've also added some allergy alert styles. The reusable containers that I've carried have always been popular that I decided the reusable snack bags would be beneficial for those who need to indicate allergy alerts for school! The safe snack reusable bags come in sets of two in my shop.
As always, any of my lunch bags or containers can always be customized with specific allergy/dietary restrictions on them!
My niece recently requested me to make her a shirt, and it turned out that she wanted one of her pictures she had drawn as the artwork! I thought, sure, simple enough, I'll just trace it and use heat transfer vinyl! I quickly realized how fast I'd be eating my words, because something so simple, never is!
The artwork itself was sent to me via email, so I converted it into a black and white photo to trace more easily. Once I did that there was a lot of the background that would trace with it that needed to be cleaned up. This was the most tedious part of all. There were a few times that I'd have to enlarge and retrace smaller portions of the picture in order to get some of the detail that I needed!
The end result turned out great, and I think my niece was pleasantly surprised when I came thru with her request for her birthday! I love the idea of turning kids artwork into graphic tees, so I definitely think I'll be doing this more once my boys get older and start drawing more!
Our oldest turned four back in January (in case you couldn't tell, I'm very behind on blogging, and I realized that I started this post back on February 3, and it's now March 4?! Apparently February decided to fly by!) Since we decided to throw a party at the house this year instead of an indoor venue, we let him pick out his theme, which was none other than a Lego party! Obvi, since he lives, breaths, dreams about Legos all.day.long! But wouldn't you know that as popular as Legos are there are absolutely NO Lego themed party supplies ANYWHERE! We kept the party very simple- let me tell you, before having our second baby I was ALWAYS on top of my game- super prepared about EVERYTHING! I feel like now, I am just treading along and I'm lucky that I get out of the house dressed every morning! (It probably doesn't help that this winter season the germs have been kicking my butt big time! Both the boys were sick around Thanksgiving that lasted pretty much till Christmas, and when they weren't sick, I've been fighting off whatever else they've given me! It has been a constant battle this year with staying healthy!)
I decided to keep decorations to a minimum and just simply put a few small pre-built Legos around the playroom and put out a large table for the kids to build Legos on. My son is VERY particular with the sets that he has, once they are built, they are built for good and he plays with them in it's built form! One of our first playdates that we had at the new house, I had completely forgotten about his Lego sets and at the end of the playdate, all his sets were taken apart! Let's just say, I had a very distraught little boy!! So, for the party we actually put away all his sets and left out just the bricks for people to build! We are very lucky in that my husbands parents kept his entire collection of Legos from when he was younger, so we had a great collection to begin with!! I decided to put out a few small tubs filled with Lego pieces for the kids to play with. I decorated the tubs with some Lego themed vinyl. They turned out pretty cute and since I am planning on redoing the boys bathroom in a Lego theme, these designs might make it's way into their new bath!
Since none of the local shops had cakes with a Lego theme (as much as I'd love to buy a custom cake from a small business, I could not justify spending more on a cake than on the food itself!!) I decided to go the easy route and make cupcakes topped with chocolate minifigures! I found the candy molds on Amazon for a pretty good deal and used the colored candy melts from the craft store. B had picked out funfetti cake mix and we decided to do a variety of sprinkle toppings on them!
All in all he had a blast at his party! Being four on the other hand has proven to be a somewhat tricky age for us as parents! We sailed through the twos and threes without any problems, but fours?! My goodness, our patience has been pushed to the limits and we are definitely tested every.day!!
A few weeks ago there was an online survey going around in the community for Best Of. There were several local businesses that I frequent that were nominated that I kept meaning to go online and vote for. Unfortunately, I kept putting it off (never remembered when I was on my computer!) And by the time I remembered the results had already been posted! Imagine my surprise when I was skimming through the results and saw my very own shop name in the Tips From Locals for Best Etsy Shop!!
Seriously, I could not believe it! Mind you, it was after 11pm at night when I came across the article and was half asleep, I did a complete double take! I cannot tell you how humbled I am by this! I have some of the best customers, family, and friends anyone could ask for!! Crafty Natalie is so tiny compared to so many of the shops on Etsy so trust me when I say that I am truly grateful for those of you who wrote me in in the tips for locals! Two weeks later and I am STILL blown away by this!
With two boys its inevitable that bumps and bruises happen! I decided it was time to make a couple boo-boo bags to have on hand in the freezer! When my oldest was younger we had a Boo-Boo Bunny but that didn't last too long, the frozen cube somehow disappeared and we've been using Ziploc bags since! I've seen a lot of people make their own boo-boo bags and fill it with rice, beans, or corn kernels (not popping corn!!) I decided to make a few and experiment with the fillings to see which held the temperature best when frozen or heated up. (Of course since making them, neither of the boys has fallen or needed one, so I have yet to see which works best!)
I decided to make a few cuter shaped ones than just the plain squares- love the bear and the whale, but definitely a bit of a pain to get the grains into the parts that are curvy! I've also thought about putting essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint, into the rice sacks for a more calming and soothing pack; these would be great for even for adults when we have migraines or headaches! I also read that people are making smaller rice sacks and using them as pocket hand warmers! What a great idea now that winter has hit and the temps are dropping! Pretty sure there will be a few snow days coming up soon that hand warmers may come in handy!
It's been a while since my last post! The holidays have come and gone and it's a New Year!! Just wanted to say thank you to all that have stuck around and supported me and my little shop! 2014 was a great year! We had our second baby and built our forever home in the process! In hindsight, having a baby and moving at the same time is definitely not ideal!! Trying to sell a home with two little ones, even more stressful! But we managed and we are settled in nicely in our new home now! I've managed to get back into the swing of things! Taking six months off kind of put me in a rut and I even contemplated closing my shop down, but I'm glad I didn't! If anything, the holiday madness of craft shows and custom orders helped get me excited for all the fun things that I've had planned in my head! I'm looking forward to this new year and creating more unique gifts for everyone!
I realized that I never posted this cute camera strap I made LAST SUMMER! (And actually, I don't even think I ever posted any of the camera strap covers that I've made in the past either?! I just tried scouring my blog to link back to them, and no such luck! Luckily I had posted them on my Facebook page so I can at least show one of them!)
So, first I'll show the camera strap cover!
A few summers ago, I had several requests for camera straps. (Is it sad that this photo was originally taken back in 2012 and I'm just getting around to showing it now?!) This is one of the ones I made to show as a sample. These covers are fun because they can be easily swapped out (there's no way you'd catch my husband carrying this around!) but also give your standard black strap some "personality"!
Last summer as we prepared for our trip to Disney World I decided to make a new strap, not just a cover. I ended up choosing a gender neutral fabric that would be fun- Pac Man! I bought a pack of leather swatches from Michaels to use as the tabs on the strap, and took apart a small dog collar to get the smaller, durable webbing to use for the straps. I ended up just using the slider pieces from my existing strap since I didn't know where else to buy any!
I personally love these actual straps more than the cover version! I know some people like the extra padding with the covers, but I don't like to wear a lot of bulk so the actual strap version is more my style! Once I can get find a supplier for more of the hardware I think I'd like to include a few in the shop!
A few weeks back my friend treated me to a home cooked birthday lunch! One of the dishes was a yummy appetizer that is a copycat recipe from Chuy's. I've never eaten at a Chuy's (I think it's a Texas based restaurant and it only just opened up recently in the NOVA area). I love Mexican food, and I'm totally a sucker for any kind chips and dip! The dip she made was based after this recipe she found on Pinterest. Since I've never eaten there, I don't know how much it tastes like the real thing, but what I can say is that this stuff is seriously awesome and SOOOO addictive!! After searching for other copycat recipes I think this one probably sounds the yummiest (there are quite a few that are mayonnaise based so I think just for the "lightness" factor I like this one best!) We've made it a few times since I was introduced to it! If you are turned off by the jalapenos and chile, it is a fairly mild dip, I altered the recipe just slightly and my three year old LOVES it, so it's definitely not super spicy (though if you want it to be spicier by all means add more jalapenos and chile!! I've generally stuck to one jalapeno when making it because I have a young one eating it!)
Chuy's Copycat Jalapeno Dip
- 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dip
- 16 ounces sour cream
- 1/4 cup roasted green chilies ( I used half of a canned jar but man, I bet fresh roasted chilies would totally make this dip!! I also read on some other copycat recipes that people were just using salsa verde, so if you don't want to buy green chilies and have salsa verde on hand, I'm guessing it would work just the same!)
- 1-2 jalapenos, sliced (if you are worried about spiciness you can always deseed it, or only use one!)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 cup cilantro
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup milk to thin it out
- Blend everything together, refrigerate and serve cold! It should make almost 3 cups of dip- but trust me it will go fast! Great with celery and carrot sticks too!
When we had started planning for the new house one of the items on my wish list was a front porch! I always envisioned sitting out on the porch during the warm months just watching the kids play and run around! Well summer is over and I still haven't found the "perfect" porch set to sit on! Guess it's a good thing I now have till spring to figure that out! But with the porch looking so bare, it's time to start with some other decorations!
At the old house we hardly ever put out seasonal decorations, mainly because there wasn't a whole lot of room, and partially because we got lazy! Now that we are settled and have the kids to create fun things for, I figured seasonal decorations are probably a must now so I really have to get on it!
I decided on something simple and small. I like the idea of decorating but always have to remember what goes up eventually has to come back down! I figured for our porch we'd stick to an Autumn theme and not necessarily Halloween that way I could keep the same decorations up until after Thanksgiving! I decided on some hay bales- well, make that ONE hay bale!! I had actually bought a couple and once I opened up one my OCD took over, the flying hay all over me and the porch was enough for me to say no thank you, one is enough and back to Michaels I went to return the other! We normally buy pumpkins but I decided that in addition to some real ones, to buy a fake white one that I could embellish that we could use year after year. The hardest part was trying to decide which font to use for our family name!
I wanted to add a pop of color to my display, and one of my favorite fall colors is deep purple/plum, so I decided to paint an old pasta jar to hold some fall sprigs. I ended up also cutting a fall saying out of some metallic vinyl and tied some twine around the mouth of the jar. I think the purple looks great against all the orange and red!
I wanted to add a few other pieces and found a metal owl that went perfectly! And we all know how much I love owls! My son picked out a tiny scarecrow pic to stick into the hay bale. All in all I love the simplicity of our fall porch!
Since the holidays are coming up I thought I'd work on a few new gift ideas for the beer or wine lover! I always try and throw in something handmade with my Christmas gifts- and purses, baby gifts, and other tumblers can only go so far!
I had come across a fun beer geek periodic table type graphic tee and thought those would be fun to recreate and put on the Brews and Vino 2 Go's! Let me tell you, staring at the periodic table and recreating the squares for these things about made me cross-eyed! And totally reminded me how much I disliked chemistry in high school! And anyone who thinks that creating something as *simple* as this takes a few minutes, you're wrong! I know it's a pretty standard font, but I must've redesigned this a dozen times to get the font to what I wanted!! Go figure standard serif fonts would be the death of me!
I do love the way it turned out and hope that people will think it's a fun gift idea! I may be making a few beer lovers some tees to go with it!
A few weeks ago I had a friend ask if I could make a coffee mug with the "Shhh, there may be wine in here" saying on it. I guess it must be a popular thing right now because I also had someone request the same thing with, "There's a chance this is wine!" It took me a while to find some blank coffee mugs and when I found some black ones I knew using pink (or even turquoise!) vinyl would be the perfect color combo! The fonts I used are my go to girly kind of fonts! Especially since they are thicker styled fonts too! I dread thin fonts (mainly not only because they are a bear to weed and not lose pieces!) but also because durability wise, the thicker the font the more adhesive to stick onto your object and longer staying power!
I think the pink really pops against the black! These would make some cute co-worker gifts! I am sure I am not the only one who would wish their coffee mug at work was filled with something a little stronger sometimes!